Solutions (11)

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Making Wine Production in San Mateo Sustainable

Bottom line: Sustainable wine production can offer significant environmental benefits.

The HEAL Project

Since 2006, the HEAL Project has been educating over 3,200 students within San Mateo County on the importance of good health, a sustainable environment, locally grown agriculture as well as key learning fundamentals. Their long-term goal is to be able to deliver a garden-based education to all children within the district. They follow within a

Get involved in coastal preservation in San Mateo County

Bottom Line: The San Mateo County coastline is a world-class resource for recreation, tourism, and coastal ecology. It’s easy to get involved with protecting this vital resource.

Countless San Mateo County residents (and many from outside the county) look to the Pacific coastline for recreation and relaxation, or for their jobs in agriculture, fisheries, and tourism. In all cases, the preservation of this critical resource is of paramount importance, and there are a number of organizations working towards that goal that you can get involved with.

Volunteer to help preserve and protect San Mateo open space

Bottom Line: Bay Area open space depends on volunteers to help maintain hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. Here is how you can become involved.


The San Francisco Bay Area contains many public open spaces managed by a number of organizations including State Parks, County parks, the Mid Peninsula Open Space District, Golden Gate National Recreation Area (National Park Service), and parks run by city governments. These parks cover over 50,000 acres of open space and also contain an additional 65,000 restricted or closed protected acres in San Mateo County [1].

Your Guide to Enjoying Local Open Space

Bottom Line: The San Francisco Bay Area has tens of thousands of acres of publicly-accessible open space, managed by many different organizations. Here is a guide to online information about them.

Open Space Guide

The San Francisco Bay area is one of the great natural areas of the world, with a huge range of ecosystems and micro climates. Spectacular coastline, redwood forests, rivers, grasslands, and of course the bay itself give residents and visitors ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. While the population of the Bay Area counties has continued to grow, the area has a strong tradition of preserving natural areas and making many of them available for recreational use as public open space.

Restore Wetlands with Recycled Water from Your Water Treatment Facility

Bottom Line: Wastewater recycling plants can recycle water using ultraviolet disinfection and use the water to restore wetlands using the hydro geomorphic model (GHM).

Restore Wetlands_Water Treatment PlantThe Calera Creek Waste Water Recycling Plant (WWRP) in Pacifica can treat 4 million gallons of sewage per day (up to 20 MGD during storm events) using its innovative treatment techniques. This plant helped pioneer the use of ultraviolet disinfection for wastewater effluent in California. UV treatment allows release of recycled water into wetlands because residual chlorine is not allowed in the permitting process. To minimize visual impact, the entire facility except for the filters and control building are buried in a hillside covered with native plants. Odor control scrubbers pull air from all process areas to neutralize odor-causing gases.

Reduce Stormwater Runoff with Pervious Paving Systems

Bottom Line: Pervious paving systems provide an economically sound and ecologically sensitive alternative for managing stormwater runoff and related water pollution issues.

PermeableConcrete-image2Pervious paving systems (permeable concrete and asphalt, permeable joint pavers, or reinforced grass and gravel grids) allow rainwater to pass through their surface and soak into the underlying ground, recharging watersheds and replenishing ground water supplies while protecting wildlife habitats and greater ecosystems. While these systems help reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, they are not considered a treatment measure. Pervious paving must be designed to manage stormwater runoff adequately, while maintaining the same load bearing capacity as conventional paving in order to support the weight and forces applied by vehicular traffic.

Manage Stormwater with Sustainable Green Streets

Bottom Line: The Sustainable Green Streets and Parking Lots Design Guidebook (First Edition: January 2009) is Now Available!

GreenStreets-image1In 2007, the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County enthusiastically supported the development of a local guidebook for developing sustainable streets and parking lots. In January 2009, the first edition guidebook was released and made available for easy download. This guidebook is intended to inspire small but widespread changes that will improve San Mateo County’s watershed health.

Sustainable streets integrate sustainable design principles, promote least-polluting ways to connect people and goods to their destinations, and make transportation facilities and services part of livable communities. The guidebook covers a wide range of topics, including: site layout and stormwater facility strategies, discussion on key design and construction details, and conceptual designs for demonstration projects being constructed in the county. The goal is to provide designers, builders, municipal staff, and other interested groups with practical and state-of-the-art information on creating low-impact development roadways and parking lots within San Mateo County.

Great Communities Collaborate to Promote Transit Oriented Development

Bottom Line: Through the Great Communities Collaborative, nonprofits and foundations team up to fund Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) that promote diversity in residents, incomes, and businesses.

collaborativeThe Great Communities Collaborative is a unique cooperative relationship between four Bay Area nonprofit organizations – Greenbelt Alliance, the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California, TransForm, and Urban Habitat – and the national nonprofit Reconnecting America. The East Bay Community Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, and The Silicon Valley Community Foundation are also part of the collaborative.

Resources to Promote Infill Development / Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

Bottom Line: Transit Oriented Development is a smart approach to accommodate future growth in San Mateo County, and reduce our communities’ environmental impact.

TODTransit Oriented Development (TOD), sometimes called “Smart Growth” or the “New Urbanism” is an approach to planning communities which concentrates more dense, mixed-use development along transit corridors and near transit hubs. Mixed-use is usually interpreted as developing housing above commercial/retail space, but can also include residential/office use or offices combined with retail shops. On the peninsula, TOD is most appropriate when built near CalTrain stations, but TOD can also be included along major bus routes such as El Camino Real.

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